Quality of locally produced salt in Zambia
Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia NFNC 03.09.99
Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia Ted Greiner 04.09.99
Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia Nevin Scrimshaw 21.09.99
Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia Ted Greiner 23.09.99
Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia Nevin Scrimshaw 04.10.99


From: "National Food and Nutrition Commission" <nfncatzamnet.zm>

Subject: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia.

Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 12:51:27 +0200

 

Dear NGONUT

Help!! Help!!!!!!!

There are two districts, in Zambia, where salt is produced at a small scale level. We are currently iodating the locally produced salt - using "hand mixers". However, the quality of the locally produced salt is very poor. We would like to have the salt quality improved.

We are therefore trying to get some-one with experience of working with small scale salt producers to have the quality of salt improved. If possible, that person could make him/herself available towards the end of September, 1999. Please, take this as a matter of improving the IQ of hundreds of children in these districts.

Please, if you are interested to help us, send your CV to us - nfncatzamnet.zm.


Date: Sat, 04 Sep 1999 14:37:37 +0100

From: "Ted Greiner" <ted.greineratich.uu.se>

Subject: Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia.

 

Greetings everyone at NFNC!

Forgive me for being presumptuous, but I would like to raise one point in response to your request. I wonder whether there is much point in trying to improve the quality of the salt. Doing so will have to mean in the long run that it will cost more. So poorer people may prefer to buy the cheaper lower quality salt which will be provided by someone else even if you improve the salt made by the small producers you know.

I know that iodate migrates more rapidly off of lower quality (wetter) salt but wonder if a better approach might be to come with really easy and cheap approaches to iodation (like putting a drop of Lugol's Solution in a spray bottle and just spraying it on heaps of crude salt before it is packaged--of course you would have to experiment to find out how much to use). Then this salt could be packed in plastic packets which can be done locally if people can buy cheap plastic sheeting and use candles with cheap manpower to seal the salt in plastic packets. In Bangladesh we found that an NGO could do this and the slight additional cost was no problem for people to be willing to pay once they knew of the benefits. Because the commercial iodated salt was so expensive, the NGO was even able to charge enough to make some money and still keep the price low enough for people to be willing to buy it. (One man said he was too poor to buy iodated salt all the time, but at least bought it for his wife when he was pregnant--a good example of the value of delivering nutrition education in a way that explains principles to people rather than just telling them what to do!)

Anyway, good luck in your continued efforts!

Sincerely yours,

 

Ted Greiner, PhD

Section for International Child Health, Department of Women's and Children's Health Uppsala University, Entrance 11

751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

phone +46 18 511598 fax +46 18 508013

email Ted.Greineratich.uu.se (when in Sweden); ted_greinerathotmail.com (when outside of Sweden)

personal website http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/3156


Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 09:53:04 +0100

From: "Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw" <nevinatcyberportal.net>

Subject: : Improving quality of locally produced salt inZambia.

 

The pessimistic comments by Ted Greiner regarding the iodation of salt do not coincide with our INCAP experience.

1. Potassium iodate is relatively stable even in crude moist salt.

In 1955 Guillermo Arroyave et al. added a 50 kg sample with iodate added at a level of 1 part of iodine in 10,000 parts of salt was stored in a hemp fiber sack in an open room with average humidity of approximately 70% for four dry-season months and about 84 for four rainy season months at tropical temperatures.

The results showed that after 6 months under these conditions the loss was only 5.8% in the top third of a 100=pound sac, 4.6% from the middle third and zero from the bottom third.

Arroyave G, Pineda O, Scrimshaw NS The stability of potassium iodate in crude table salt. Bull. Wld. Hlth Org 1956; 14: 183-185.

2. There is no excuse for allowing iodated salt to be more expensive.

When we introduced iodated salt in Guatemala, the ingredient cost was only 5 cents per 100 pounds. The five large producers did not complain of the one-time cost of a locally fabricating mixing screw and the purchase of a precision feeder of the type used for flour fortification and the Salt Manufactures Organization set up a facility to add iodine to the salt of small producers. .

The government required the iodation of all salt for human consumption without an increase in price for this reason although it did allow a one cent increase per pound that the producers had been requesting for several year.

 

Nevin Scrimshaw


Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 10:43:19 +0100

From: "Ted Greiner" <ted.greineratich.uu.se>

Subject: Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia.

 

Thanks to Nevin Scrimshaw for reminding us about this early research. It would interesting to hear from Venkatesh Mannar or others about whether more recent research has confirmed this. My impression is that losses tend to be much greater than this in African settings.

However, he seems to have misunderstood my point--and indeed is making the same point I was trying to make in a different way. I agree completely with him. Iodized salt should not cost more than uniodized. Otherwise the program will never work. That is why I oppose the idea of trying to improve the quality of the salt.

Here is an example of what I mean:

I visited several districts in northern Bangladesh about once a year from 1989 to 1994. Iodized salt had become available and social marketing had been done to convince people to buy it. However, only the higher grade of salt was iodized. Ordinary uniodized coarse salt cost around 4-5 taka/kg in 1989 and the iodized salt about 7-8 taka. Shopkeepers in several towns told us that the iodized salt was beginning to sell well. But each year it cost more, increasing to 10-11 taka by 1994 while the coarse salt stayed at about 5. Shopkeepers told us they sold much less each year and by 1994 the smaller ones had stopped carrying it altogether.

We discussed this with large groups of people in 10 villages in 1992 and 8 more in 1993, told them about the importance of iodized salt (some of course already knew), and asked how much extra they would be willing to pay for it.

Almost all said 1 taka extra was okay. Most were willing to pay 2 takas extra. Few were willing to pay 3-4 and almost none were willing to pay 5-6, which was the actual increase they had to pay. A few men said things like, "I can't afford to use this expensive salt all the time for the whole family, so I only buy it for my wife when she is pregnant." (This demonstrates how important it is to teach people principles rather than giving them simplistic "behavior change messages!")

The NGO Worldview International Foundation began buying the cheapest (i.e. "low quality" coarse and moist salt with impurities) available iodized salt along the coast, hiring a truck to transport it to the north, paying someone (at very low wages) to weigh it and put it into home-made plastic bags (using sheets of plastic and a candle), and found this cost about 6.5 takas per kilo. They gave the women "volunteers" who worked for them 0.5 taka bonus for each kilogram they sold to the rather home-bound Bangladeshi mothers in their homes, since this was heavy work carrying these bags on their bicycles. I have not seen any evaluation of how successful this way, but know that they sold many tons in the mid 1990s.

I have written about WIF's work in a new book that just came out edited by Tom Marchione called "Scaling Up, Scaling Down" about NGO involvement in hunger and food security. I do not know the reason for sure, but sadly, WIF has not been able to maintain donor interest in its very large-scale and low-cost way of working. (They covered a total of about 10 million people in northern Bangladesh during about a decade. For a food-based vitamin A project that doubled the proportion of preschoolers eating green leaves in three years, the annual cost was US$0.13 per capita in a district with a couple million people.) I suspect it is because WIF never hired an eloquent foreigner to work with them and "translate" what they do into terms that appeal to our Western way of thinking and communicating.

Regards,

 

Ted Greiner, PhD

Section for International Child Health, Department of Women's and Children's Health Uppsala University, Entrance 11

751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

phone +46 18 511598, fax +46 18 508013

email Ted.Greineratich.uu.se (when in Sweden), ted_greinerathotmail.com (when outside of Sweden) personal website http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/3156


Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 10:12:34 +0100

From: "Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw" <nevinatcyberportal.net>

Subject: Re: Improving quality of locally produced salt in Zambia.

 

I should have expanded on my comment on the loss of iodine in salt enriched with potassium iodate. When we recognized the problem of endemic goiter in Guatemala in the 1950s and sought information on salt iodation, we learned that existing methods required dry refined salt with added stabilizer and moisture proof packaging. In Guatemala crude moist salt was sold in the open tropical markets heaped on a palm leaf.

The U.S and European method of iodizing salt would not only have been prohibitively expensive but the salt itself would not be familiar to the population and would probably be rejected. This was the motivation for seeking an alternative to potassium iodide.

When we consulted the Chilean Iodine Education Bureau in London at the suggestion of WHO, they suggested that we might try potassium iodate, which was not hygroscopic, but there was no information as to whether its iodine would be available. Trials in two villages in El Salvador and two in Guatemala in school children showed an equal response to the same amount of iodine supplied as a weekly tabled. In the course of the school year the mild goiters decreased sharply. This led to the trials of potassium iodate stability to which I referred.

This is all well documented.

I have never seen actual data from Africa on iodate stability in salt there; if they exist I hope someone will advise me,.

All if this is in strong support of the point that Ted Greiner was trying to make.

Salt with iodine should be provided in the form to which the people are accustomed and a price they are accustomed to paying. Extensive experience on a national scale in Central America is evidence that the use of potassium iodate permits this without refining, stabilizing chemicals or special packaging

 

Nevin Scrimshaw